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The Largest Antimatter Container?

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

UCSD physicists James Danielson, Clifford Surko and Craig Schallhorn (left to right) inspect the apparatus they are using to develop the world's largest trap for low-energy positrons, which is expected to hold a trillion or more antiparticles. Photo Credit: Kim McDonald, UCSD

“Once regarded as the stuff of science fiction, antimatter—the mirror image of the ordinary matter in our observable universe—is now the focus of laboratory studies around the world.

While physicists routinely produce antimatter with radioisotopes and particle colliders, cooling these antiparticles and containing them for any length of time is another story. Once antimatter comes into contact with ordinary matter it “annihilates”—or disappears in a flash of gamma radiation.

Clifford Surko, a professor of physics at UC San Diego who is constructing what he hopes will be the world’s largest antimatter container, said physicists have recently developed new methods to make special states of antimatter in which they can create large clouds of antiparticles, compress them and make specially tailored beams for a variety of uses.”

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